Category Archives: Nature

Perfecting the Art of Procrastination…

…or  indecisiveness…

Which is it?  I can’t make up my mind!

So here’s the problem.  I have done quite a few things over the past few weeks, have LOADS of photos and I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days being completely unable to write a blog post about anything because there’s TOO MUCH STUFF…

Which means I either never write another post, or I just metaphorically throw everything in the air, grab some bits here and there and see what happens.

We went to the Knitting and Stitching show a couple of weeks ago.  So much to see, and some amazing exhibitions.  I hope to follow up on some of the interesting stalls at a later date but in the meantime, well, I did treat myself.  Last time I went, a couple of years ago I fell in love with the wonderful Throw kits on the Colinette stand but there was such a huge choice I just couldn’t make up my mind, and have been kicking myself ever since.  I don’t know when I’m going to get time to make it, but this time I did buy one at the special show price  I wish you could feel how wonderfully soft and warm the yarn is, and the colours are fabulous…

perugino skylark throw Colinette

 My other great buy was a pinnie from Alison Hulme Textiles

Alison Hulme Pinnie

Hand printed by Alison on denim, it’s almost a dress!  It’s a good extra layer, will fit over a woolly jumper and has two big deep pockets so it’s a perfect work uniform for me when I’m in the studio.

And then I went off to the seaside…

Just a few days on the South Coast and it was lovely.  There was lots of weather…

Bright and breezy…

sea

IMG_2310Wild and windy…

IMG_2281Rainy…

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…and peaceful.

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A teachers strike meant I had a precious day with my grandsons, a trip to the Observatory Science Centre which I enjoyed as much as they did!  I was allowed to have ago on all the scientific apparatus and no one told me I was too tall, or old to join in, and a tour of one of the telescopes.  A great way to entertain a granny!

IMG_2329

Now I’m home I’m gradually unpacking all the things put away to make way for the decorator and seeing them in a fresh light.  It’s so easy to stop actually ‘seeing’ things, isn’t it. when you’ve had them a long time in the same place.  I’ve got shelves in a redundant fireplace which is ideal for china and other small and fragile pieces.  It spent several years with a perspex sheet screwed to the front when the boys were small, so with another little one coming along in the New Year, I need to make the most of it before we have to replace the perspex!

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It’s all been a bit slow on the making front, alas.  I’ve been suffering from RSI in my elbow and operating the mouse and the crochet hook seems to be the culprit, which is so frustrating.  I really want to write a pattern for the Christmas balls I’ve been making with the Planet Penny Cotton which requires lots of crochet experiments and ‘mouse work’ for the photos, and rest is really the only answer for RSI.

I’ve been good though and have only done a bit here and a bit there so I hope it won’t be too long before I’m back up to speed.

crochet Christmas balls Planet Penny Cotton

 Christmas crochet  balls Planet Penny Cotton

crochet Christmas balls -  Planet Penny CottonGetting my rainbow colour fix is always good for the spirits!

Well, I have both Henry and Higgins telling me it’s teatime and although they are an hour too early I won’t get much peace right now!

If you are in the UK and are watching out for the weather warnings for tomorrow’s predicted storm as we are here, keep safe and warm.

See you soon…x

Turf, Surf and Needlefelt Birds

A mixed bag post today, I’ve been lurking inside a lot consoling myself with needlefelt because of the unseasonably cold weather, but then rejoicing in sunshine and warmth when at last we get a brief indication that it’s actually summertime!  I’m only wearing TWO layers today, and no thermal fleece!

The wind seems to have blown constantly for months in this part of the UK and we live in the windiest corner of the village, near the remains of the old mill.  Wind always seems to make everything worse, doesn’t it?  Colder, and so noisy with it whistling around the chimney.  Yesterday’s walk was a bit scary, with small branches being blown off the trees.  I wasn’t sorry to see some rain for the garden though, and Higgins was relieved that the thunderstorm which hit Norwich skirted around us.  Despite all this Mother Nature is flourishing in the hedgerows…

dog rose

green lane

pink campion

white flowerThe grass is long enough now to ripple in the wind like water, and is such a lush green…

grassy meadow

Norfolk field miniature dachshund

But, in true English fashion today the weather is completely different.  The sunshine in the garden brought the bees to the chive flowers…

chive flower and beeI know you are supposed to snip the flowers off if you want nice chives for kitchen use, but how can I deprive the poor bees?

bee on chive flowers

chives with bee

Such a beautiful morning was too good to waste, so Higgins and I headed to the beach before breakfast.  What could be better than a deserted Norfolk beach in the sunshine?

Norfolk beach

The sand is gradually returning after being scoured by the winter gales.  Only a couple of weeks ago this stretch was down to red clay.

Norfolk beach and sunHiggins was very happy..

Norfolk beach and miniature dachshundAnd quite intrepid too in the shallows…

miniature dachshund at the beach

Miniature dachshund paddling…and the pools…

Miniature dachshund in pool

Back home I’m getting ready for the first Needlefelt Workshop next weekend at Art’s Desire Craft Lounge in Norwich.  The first one is all booked up and the second one is filling but fear not, further dates have been added to the calendar!  The   Birds on a Branch piece I created for Open Studios last year is in the shop window because we’ll be making birds, of all descriptions…

needlefelt birds on a branchThis is my latest flight of fancy….

Needlefelt birds

Needlefelt and feather birds

Feather and Needlefelt birds Happy, not Angry Birds!

And, in case you were wondering, there is a winner for last week’s  giveaway of a copy of Caroline Zoob’s gorgeous book, The Hand-Stitched Home.  Thank you, to everyone who entered  with wonderful stitching memories, I really enjoyed reading them.  It seems for every school day horror there was also a wonderful teacher or relative who passed on their own love of the subject.

It  was so hard to choose, I wanted everyone to win, but there’s only one copy of the book!

Please imagine the drum roll, or the pregnant pause beloved of TV Games shows so that I can announce…the winner is… Nikki Pierce who writes her own blog Tales from Swallow Barn.

Congratulations Nikki, I hope you enjoy your copy of the book and that we see some of your creations on your blog before too long (No pressure or anything!)

I’m off now to put the kettle on.  I hope you’ve got your feet up with a cuppa too!

Have a great week and I’ll be back soon…

Daisy, Daisy….

Daisy

I promised a daisy post and while they are still shining vibrantly in the lane I’m fitting in this little post.

I love daisies, don’t you?  They are the simplest flower, their shape is the one we first learn to draw, the one we doodle while we are on the phone.  They are a link to childhood… did you sit on the school playing field in the sun making daisy chains with friends as I did?  And they have become very much linked with the Open Studios season, as each year the edge of the lane leading to the studio is lined with a mass of Ox Eye Daisies…

ox eye daisy down the lane

Daisy and dog

Last year Kit, my Open Studios partner-in-crime, was inspired by the daisies as you can see from this post  and turned her sketches into a beautiful little etching.   I treated myself to a pack of cards as they are perfect for personalised letters…

Daisy Card

And that would have been all, but for the new book which I reviewed last weekend.  Caroline Zoob, writing in the The Hand-Stitched Home featured a beautiful curtain, patchworked from vintage lawn and lace.

The Hand-Stitched Home curtain

 It would take ages to amass such a wonderful collection but, nothing daunted, I called into our local charity shop just in case someone had been clearing out Miss Haversham’s attic!

Well, they hadn’t..but in a pile of textile odds and end I found a little crumpled treasure which, carefully washed, starched and ironed revealed…daisies!  It’s a wonderful piece of hand stitched cut work on fine lawn, a little frayed in places but this, I think, adds to the charm…

daisy cutwork

Unfortunately my name isn’t Susan…

cut work Susanbut for 25 pence – 25 PENCE! – that’s a minor detail…

cutwork cloth

I have been debating for a week or two what to put in the little window in the new door into my office.  I’m not a fan of nets, I didn’t want to lose the light but I just wanted to hide the interior from prying eyes if anyone called while I was out.  This small piece is perfect and with the help of some  pins I covered with vintage fabric a while ago I have my own little bright white curtain…

lace and pin

lace and pins

pin and lace

window with cutwork cloth

And 25p was well spent, I think you’ll agree!

If you’ve been inspired, there’s still a chance for you to win a copy of The Vintage Home.  Visit the post and leave a comment, what’s your sewing story?

 

Switch Off for a Day in the Sun

Bank Holiday weekends should be the time to switch off, but they rather merge into the background on Planet Penny.  One tends not to do just a five day week when you work from home, it’s very hard to shut the door and walk away, Tim’s working rota takes no account of public holidays and I’m my Mum’s carer.  This means I can’t actually remember when I actually switched off for a whole day.  Which is ridiculous!

So last weekend I awarded myself a Day Off!

First rule: Do Not Switch On The Computer.

Second Rule: Do Not Switch On The Phone.

I started with a trip to our lovely village shop, our Community Shop if you remember, I own at least a brick or two!  I bought the Sunday Paper, a cup of freshly ground coffee and a Double Chocolate Muffin and took them outside in the sun .  I took no photos of this, I’m afraid, but everyone behind the counter in the shop rushed out to take one as I was christening the new chairs and tables! (If you really want to see, you’ll have to check out the Facebook Page!)

Once back home I dragged the old steamer chair under the cherry trees in the garden and filled it with a throw and cushions…

Patchwork Throw, crochet and knitted cushions in garden chair the place to Switch Off…went in to collect the only paper work I intended to do  all day…

Reading the papers to Switch Off…and got back to the chair to find it was being kept warm for me!

Miniature dachshund in garden chairOnce we had established that if anyone was going to sit on the grass it wasn’t going to be me, it was fine.  I not only read both Saturday and Sunday’s papers I went on to finish the book I had started a while ago.

After lunch one of us decided to carry on sunbathing…Tabby cat sunbathing…while the rest of us went for a walk…

miniature dachshund running

(the one with short legs did running)

treesThe name of this lovely lime green tree escapes me, but aren’t the flowers pretty?

green flower

It seems only a short time ago the hedgerows were white with snow, but now it’s blossom.

blossom in hedgerowSo pretty and so fleeting…

white blossom

 

Then home for a cup of tea.

A light supper and an episode of Endeavour finished the day and I woke up the next morning feeling I had a weeks holiday, full of ideas and plans!

This is something I must factor in to my life on a regular basis to keep the creative juices flowing, however hard it is to find the ‘Off’ switch.

I wonder… what do you do to unwind?

 

The Right White

I can’t believe it’s sunny again! The Spring has taken so long to arrive but it’s so nice to be able to get out with Higgins for a walk with the camera.

a walk with a miniature dachshund

I’ve just trawled back through the May posts for 2010, 2011, 2012  and been amazed at the flowers I photographed then.  the cherry blossom was out, lupins and poppies, tulips, wisteria and roses.  There’s an awful lot of catching up to do.  I’m really hoping the back yard get’s a move on or it will look like a desert for Open Studios!

On our walk however, I was looking for ‘White’ and I found it.  A daisy…

white daisy..a feather…

white feather…white sloe blossom…

white sloe blossom…and stitchwort…

white stitchwortHiggins tends to get a little impatient with all the stop/start on his walks.  He does like to keep an eye on me at all times, and if he’s wandered away and found something really interesting (and probably revolting!) just hiding behind something is the best way to attract his attention.  He come’s hurtling round the corner convinced I’m eating all the dog treats!

miniature dachshundI’ve been thinking about white because I’ve been planning to add white to the Planet Penny Cotton range, as I’ve had quite a few requests.    I trialled it at Christmas for the Christmas Crochet Bunting kits and was very pleased with it.   However I’ve been caught out with the dreaded dye batch anomaly, and the yarn I received is not quite the the right white to put the Snowdrop labels on.  I’m probably being over fussy as it’s the same lovely quality and the difference is very slight.  But I’ve decided to sell it on at a reduced price because it may be just what you need to create a bag, or some bunting or edge your granny squares.

White Yarn Pack for SaleThere are just 7, SEVEN, packs left now priced at £20.00, which is £2.00 a 50g/125m ball instead of the usual £2.60 and is a light DK weight.  If you would like to purchase a pack just leave a message on the contact form with your email address and I will get in touch to arrange payment.  The postage in the UK is £3.50, for elsewhere, please ask me.

And now I’m going to get back out into the sunshine and do a spot of gardening.  I think Higgins will be assuming his usual gardening position, however…

helping in the garden…you just can’t get the staff!

 

See you soon…x

 

P.S. Don’t forget, there is still time to enter the Planet Penny MOO Prize Draw and win yourself some gorgeous business cards!

 

All Sheep Shape…

daffodils in the sun for a Sheep shape post

Have you heard the sound of birds singing and  sheep dancing on Planet Penny this week?   It’s all because the sun is shining and I have finished my piece for the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios Taster Exhibition at the Forum in Norwich….yippee!   I’ve just looked back and found I published my Ta-daaa moment for the last piece almost exactly a year ago today, you can read it here.   And I said “This has existed in my head for so long it was rather a shock to realise that I hadn’t actually made it yet, so I’ve been working on it all week” And I can say exactly the same this year.  It’s amazing how a deadline focuses the mind!

But first, the sunshine.  It’s still not very warm, but it was a relief to wake up yesterday morning and realise the wind was not whistling in the chimney which it’s been doing for days.

frosty gardenI’ve had the doors open into the garden for the first time this year (and kept my fleece on) to let some fresh air into the house and Henry and Higgins have appreciated being able to wander in and out as they please.  Henry has a spot on a warm paving slab where in a few weeks he will be able to get spaced out on Cat Mint…

Tabby cat in the garden

…and Higgins parked himself under the bird feeder to make sure no pesky birds could get at the little dish of water I  put out for them.  He found it was particularly delicious, so much nicer than the inferior water in the dog bowl!

miniature dachshund

There’s a lot of bare earth in the garden, even the weeds are holding back, but there are patches of Spring to enjoy…

purple crocus

white crocuses

mixed crocuses

frilly daffodilAnd so to my big project for this week.  I really wanted to do something completely different this time, to step away of the bright colours, the crochet, the small things.  Also to challenge myself on the needlefelt front and make something much bigger than little birds and mice.    So I’ve used a very subdued palette…

sheep fleeceNatural Merino fleece with a background of charcoal grey.

So can you guess what I made? Well, of course it’s a sheep!

needlefelt sheep for NNOS 2013It’s actually quite hard to photograph and get the angle right…

needlefelt sheep for Taster Exhibition NNOS 2013

It’s called ‘How to Knit a Sheep’… (but please don’t ask me for a pattern!)

'How to Knit a Sheep' NNOS 2013

The knitted part starts off as unspun fleece and gradually reduces in thickness until it becomes  undyed 4 ply to knit the lacy part.

Needlefelt Sheep for NNOS 2013

knitting for 'How to Knit a Sheep' for NNOS 2013This has been a rare moment when the finished piece is almost the same as the picture in my head, hence the singing and dancing!  As you can imagine, I haven’t done a lot else this week but there are exciting Planet Penny things in the pipeline which I hope to share with you soon.

It’s Handmade Monday again this week so I’m linking up with Wendy for Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour  and I’ll be back very soon…x

 

 

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